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How do I hide my private info and IP when sending out e-mails using Thunderbird?

Posted on 2011-05-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I'm using Thunderbird for Mac.

I just recently discovered that when viewing the message source code of my e-mails (the test e-mail I sent to myself), the header is showing my full computer name, hostname, and my IP.

Regardless if I sent out using Gmail or my ISP's SMTP, the Received: from section of the source code contains all the data I considered personal.

For privacy concern, I would like to hide these info to be sent out in the outgoing e-mails I compose.

How can this be done?
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Question by:jay28lee
7 Comments
 
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by:
Miguel Angel Perez Muñoz earned 800 total points
ID: 35752390
This is a problem inherent to smtp protocol. Use a webmail to send emails, or webdav protocol if avaiable.
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Author Comment

by:jay28lee
ID: 35752508
I rarely used webmail, does it still show my IP?

What does webdav do?

I do enjoy the convenience of thunderbird with integration of my multiple e-mail accounts.  does all e-mail clients using smtp protocol is behaving like this?

no other way to cloak these info?
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LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 800 total points
ID: 35752730
If you use Gmail in your browser (webmail), it only shows the Gmail servers IPs.  If you were able to conceal all your info in your emails, you might find your emails blocked by spam filters for not being identifiable.  Part of the 'social contract' of the internet email is that you can be tracked if you send spam or threatening emails.  Note that you can't really hide on the internet.  If there is a reason to, police can get a search warrant and get your IP address from Google's Gmail if they needed and find you.
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Author Comment

by:jay28lee
ID: 35752776
my concern is more like the name of my computer and ip are displayed, so that people may try to hack or attach my machine.

what about using a paid vpn?  does it somewhat hide my ip from the public viewing?
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:JohnDecker
JohnDecker earned 400 total points
ID: 35753365
Does your computer name really identify you? For most people it is fairly innocuous. Try renaming it if you're worried. As for the IP, unless you are on a static IP then relax, most people couldn't trace you (but hack Sarah Palin's emails and then even a proxy won't save you).

For example, my IP address tonight is 222.154.49.233 which apparently puts me in Hamilton, New Zealand. I don't live within 200 miles of there, so you've narrowed me down to about 10000 square miles and 3 million people.
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Author Comment

by:jay28lee
ID: 35753457
my computer name does have some degree of identification, as i'm on a local network of a few workstations, it's for the convenience of usage, i never thought people outside of my local network will even get to see my computer name.

i'm using cable modem and i do have a static IP from my ISP.  i do have business activity running out of my IP, that's why i'm worried if someone will make maliciously hack/attack.  either competitors or frustrated customers/users.

i know it's very unlikely to happen, but i would like to eliminate the chance and possible trace.  especially i'm using e-mail on a daily basis (which supposed to be private), and now which exposes me to a great possibility of security issue.

any other solution?  is it the case for all e-mail clients using smtp to send out e-mail?
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LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 35755998
Yes, it is the same for all clients using email.  Look at the headers in the emails you get from others.
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